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Peter King on M&M: Pats should have drafted for pass rush

11.04.11 at 1:55 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Peter King joined Mut & Merloni Friday at noon for his weekly appearance. King spoke about the Patriots’ struggling defense and the personnel problems in the secondary.

King said he thinks the Patriots may have used too many draft picks on defensive backs over the last few years. New England has drafted a defensive back in either the first or the second round of every draft since 2007. King noted that the Patriots may have been better served bolstering their pass rush instead of worrying about the secondary.

“I’ve got think that if there’s somebody there like [Scott] Pioli, who used to get into pretty good arguments with [Bill Belichick] and used to challenge him on things, somebody might’ve said, ‘Look, we have got to simply buttress our pass rush,’” King said. “If you look at where they are now rushing the passer, it’s basically a Scotch tape job. … At some point, you’ve got to respect the guys who get to the quarterback and sack the quarterback as much as you do the guys who cover the receivers.”

New England is in the bottom third of the NFL in sacks and dead last in total defense, giving up 424.1 yards per game. While the defense has been better of late, King said it could end up hindering the Patriots’ hopes of a Super Bowl run.

“I said, maybe three or four weeks ago, that their defense ultimately will kill them and it will mean another failed season come playoff time,” King said. “Now, obviously they have nine weeks to prove me and probably a lot of other people wrong. But they obviously have not played at a tremendously high level. Having said that, you look at them in the last month, they certainly in the last month are better than they were early on. So you have some guys learning a new defense and playing a bit better.

“With the way things are going for them right now, I’m not afraid of getting in a shootout game with Tom Brady against anybody, and there’s a good chance there’s going to be a shootout game this weekend against Eli Manning, because Manning is playing so well. But, and I’ve always thought this, its very difficult to win three or four games in a row in the playoffs if every week you have to rely on a shootout to win.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On offensive lineman Brian Waters‘ stellar play: “First of all, Brian Waters, you ask anybody who’s watched their games and the guy does not make many mistakes. He doesn’t allow leaks. He still is a very good drive blocker even at his age. And I think that his athleticism inside has really been kind of a revelation. I think in Kansas City later on, it had grown stale for him. He really didn’t want to be there anymore and he just wanted to move on, which happens. It happens to players all the time. I think for every [Chad] Ochocinco you have, for every [Albert] Haynesworth you have, you have an Andre Carter and you have a Brian Waters. Those are two really, really good signings off the scrap heap that have helped keep the Patriots in contention.”

On the Chargers-Packers game this Sunday: “Even though San Diego enters this game a little bit with one hand tied behind its back because they’re probably not going to have Ryan Mathews, they’re going up against a team that is allowing 4.5 yards a rush and that has been their one Achilles’ heel all season. That they have not played the run well. To me, you look at Green Bay right now and you say the one team that could beat them is a good drive-blocking team that can possess the ball and hold Aaron Rodgers to maybe seven or eight possessions. So, who knows? That plus the fact that everybody’s job is on the line in San Diego. If you’re out there and you listen to the talk shows, nobody’s good enough anymore — dump [Phillip] Rivers, get rid of Norv [Turner], fire A.J. [Smith], everybody should be demoted. Jobs are on the line right now in San Diego. I kind of like back-against-the-wall teams in games like this.”

On Terrell Suggs‘ comments about the Ravens-Steelers rivalry as the two teams square off this Sunday: “Earlier this year, Suggs told me that’s the one team for him that when he sees guys in the offseason, he doesn’t want to be their friend. He won’t be mean to them or he won’t go slapping Hines Ward down if he seems him at some event, he won’t do that. But he doesn’t want to become friendly with them, because he hates them.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brian Waters, Peter King, Terrell Suggs
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